Eddie Jones fears disrupted Premiership season has skewed England selection process

England are preparing for a final Six Nations fixture ahead of the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup

Sports News Correspondent
Sunday 11 October 2020 08:43
Comments
England head coach Eddie Jones
England head coach Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones fears the disrupted finish to the Premiership season has made it significantly harder to spot the best talent emerging through the English system, with a depleted squad about to embark on finishing their Six Nations campaign before playing in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.

England can win the Six Nations title with a bonus-point victory over Italy on 31 October, depending on what Ireland can do with their game in hand against the same opposition, following the seven-month delay to completing the championship. They follow the trip to Rome with games against Georgia, Ireland and Wales before their Autumn Nations Cup final, meaning that along with the warm-up game against the Barbarians they face a testing schedule of six games in seven weeks.

But having already lost Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes to injury, as well as George Kruis to Japan, Jones is looking to change up the squad that clinched three wins from four earlier in the year.

That has been made tricky though due to the nature of the Premiership fixtures, where clubs have been forced to chop and change players to manage player welfare during the season restart that has resulted in some A teams taking on perceived B teams – producing skewed results.

“I think there is always talent coming through, sometimes it comes through a bit quicker than others,” Jones said after England’s first three-day training camp in south-west London concluded this week.

Jones leads England in a training session

“The difficult thing selection-wise has been the ill-balance of the games because of the schedule where we have seen a lot of A teams playing against B teams, so to gauge the performance of the players has sometimes been difficult.

“We feel like we have scoured the roads – I think I have done 8,000 miles in the last eight or 10 weeks looking at games, looking at the quality of players coming through and we feel we have got a pretty good idea who we want to look at.”

The result of that issue, along with the absence of half of the Premiership clubs in this first training camp squad, is the inclusion of several unknown quantities – at least at international level – that the England coach wants to take a closer look at in a testing environment.

One of those players if Gloucester’s 19-year-year-old back-row Jack Clement, who got the surprise call-up after making his Premiership debut in August and featuring for the Under-20s only twice before.

Although Jones went to Kingsholm to take a closer look at Clement, who has featured at both blindside flanker and No 8 for George Skivington’s side, it was what he heard about the youngster away from the game that impressed the England boss enough to select him.

Jack Clement has received his first senior call-up after two appearances for England’s U20s

“He has got a good feel for the game, I watched him play for about 30 minutes and I liked his feel for the game,” added Jones.

“He is a good, tough little fellow, from a good family. He went out picking fruit during lockdown to help support his family and all those things count, so we are looking forward to working with him.”

Clement was one of six new faces in the England this week, although Jones will be able to change the make-up of his training camp now with players from Wasps and Bath now available along with Sale and Worcester. But that said, Jones does not feel like he is enjoying the best of a golden generation of players. If anything, he sees it as quite the opposite.

“I don’t think this has been an exceptional period at all,” the Australian explained. “I think talent tends to come through, particularly in England, fairly consistently so no, I don’t really understand that comment.

“Definitely at seven, that’s probably the area where there’s been the most development of young players coming through, but other positions I wouldn’t say so. I think it’s fairly consistent.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in